It was in April of 1990 that Altoona area entertainer Dennie Huber launched his first “Crazy Fest” Amateur Talent Show, an event to give area amateur performers – especially young people – an opportunity to showcase their talents on stage in front of a friendly and supportive audience. Somebody gave Huber that opportunity early in his life, and he eventually chose entertainment for his career. He wanted to return the favor, and provide possible inspiration for others to pursue their talents.
The early years of “Crazy Fest” featured both youth and adult entertainers, performing and competing for multiple trophies, plaques, awards and other prizes. The emphasis was always on youth, and the youth competition was broken down into a succession of age divisions, while the adult competitors were judged in a general “adult” division. Within several years, though, Huber changed “Crazy Fest” into its current all-youth amateur talent format.
The early years of “Crazy Fest” occurred at the A&J IAIA American Legion Post along 9th Avenue in Altoona. But after the Post closed its doors, “Crazy Fest” moved to its current location, Altoona’s Greenwood Firehall, in 2002.
Two decades after he started it, Dennie Huber’s still doing it. The 20th annual “Crazy Fest” Amateur Youth Talent Show will take place this Sunday afternoon at the Greenwood Firehall. The festivities will begin at 1 p.m.
Youngsters up to 21 years of age are welcome to enter and showcase their talents: singing, playing an instrument, dancing, acting, magic, juggling, baton twirling, or whatever other talents the young mind can come up with – part of the reason Huber has called this event "Crazy Fest!" Youngsters can perform and compete for trophies, plaques and awards in a variety of age divisions; in front of a friendly and supportive audience. Young amateur bands are welcome to participate as well.
There is no entry fee for youngsters to enter and perform. There is a $2 per person donation at the door for the general public to attend. Door money funds the many trophies and awards handed out during "Crazy Fest."
Food and refreshments will be available for sale; food proceeds benefit the Greenwood Volunteer Fire Company.
This is a family-friendly event, and no alcohol will be served or permitted.
Although Huber never accepts credit for the future success of his “Crazy Fest” participants, a number of area musicians have graced the stage of "Crazy Fest" on their paths to making music on local, regional and even national stages. Some past "Crazy Fest" participants have included current festival/fair circuit performers such as Crystal Marie, Elaini Arthur, Angela Dodson and the Soulmen Rhythm & Blues Revue (Blues Brothers tribute act); current music scene participants such as Nick Finochio, Biranda "Honey Brown" Goodman, Jarrett Bickel (of Rain Must Fall), Megan Helbig (of The Boomers), McKenzie Wilson, Kira Burley and others; also bands such as Sound Driven, Dragon Fire, Misconceived, Dead Reckoning, Electric Blue, Choco Sam and others.
And in 1999, a family band – consisting of a singing and keyboard-playing 15-year-old young lady named Elizabeth, her 12-year-old drum-playing brother Arejay, and their bass-playing father Roger – showed up at the A&J IAIA Post. Since they had already played a few paid performances, they declined competing in “Crazy Fest,” but performed a song in exhibition. Eleven years later, Elizabeth (whose handle has been shortened to “Lzzy”) and Arejay just completed their first concert tour in Europe, and during this past week kicked off their first national headlining tour; still the nucleus of the band that appeared at the 1999 event...current Atlantic Records recording group Halestorm!
For more information or an application to enter "Crazy Fest," contact Dennie Huber at (814) 942-2516. Entrants will be accepted up until the beginning of Sunday’s event.